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Dr. Lisa Kingstone Gave Lecture at the Anna Freud Centre in London

Posted in: College News and Events

Dr. Lisa Kingstone, Associate Professor in the Educational Foundations Department, gave a lecture at the Anna Freud Centre in London on December 7, 2021.

Her discussion was stimulated by Chapter 3 of her book, Fading Out Black and White: cultural ambiguity in American culture.

The novel perspective Dr. Kingstone chose was to focus the debate on the first case of a ‘transracial’ woman, and the rage mobilized in outing as white, Rachel Dolezal, who had chosen to identify as black. Showing slides depicting imaginative artistic ‘reinventions’ of gender and race, and the ostracization of violators, Dr. Kingstone ascribed the volatile aggressive reaction in exposing Dolezal, the local President of the NAACP, to this particular moment in historic time, when poised on the cusp of a contemporary demographic shift, the United States is experiencing a real threat to the idea of white supremacy and the carefully held wealth/power system. Founded on a racial idea, Colonialist US instituted regulations and public trials to maintain the black/white binary of ancestry and elitist privilege. A competing strand is the ‘melting pot’ myth. Hence both the horror of interbreeding and the exoticization of mixed race. (She sees the equivalent UK catalyst as Class centered). Her illustrations included research by Foeman, showing discrepancies between perceived race, and DNA test results with self-identificatory categorizations and family narratives. She ended her presentation with two key concepts – trans of migration and trans of beyond the male/female or black/white binary.

Dr. Kingstone’s research explores questions of identity by examining how we fashion narratives about ourselves in order to belong. But she is also interested in the more drastic forms of identity masquerade such as ‘passing’ in terms of race, gender, sexual preference, dis/ability, and class in order to survive physically and psychologically.  Her book Fading Out Black and White: cultural ambiguity in American culture, published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018, explores the contemporary construction of race in an increasingly multi-ethnic, racially ambiguous, and culturally fluid country.